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December 5th, 2011
09:39 PM ET

Video: School's HIV rejection legal?

AC360 looks at the legality of the Milton Hershey School’s decision to reject an HIV-positive student. Our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, and the student’s attorney, Rhonda Goldfein, discuss the case.


Filed under: 360° Q & A • 360° Radar • Anderson Cooper • Jeffrey Toobin
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Julie

    Textbook discrimination! The school is attempting to utilize the safety factor as an exemption from the ADA requirements for providing services. However, the ADA states " any safety standard must be based on medical/ scientific evidence or other objective requirements, rather than stereotypes or generalizations about the ability of persons with disabilities to participate in an activity." Isn't assuming the boy will have unprotected sex ,as an older teenager, representative of a sterotypical assumption of teenagers behavior?

    December 6, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
  2. Denise Wallace

    As a Nation and as a Career Public Health Nurse, we should not be having this conversation. For twenty years we have known that the HIV virus is more fragile than the Hepatitis B Virus. Public Health agencies obviously have not done their collective jsutice in educating the public about HIV transmission and how close we are to prevention and cure.

    December 6, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
  3. Margarita Abello

    What a disappointing and sad story. The real threat to the students, to society and to the world is the ignorant staff of the Hershey school! It shows lack of information, education,compassion and respect for people.
    You would think that this high ranked institution would be managed by well highly educated staff.
    What a disgrace for School!

    December 6, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  4. MILT FORLIFE

    "The student met all the other requirements for the program, which is free and serves low-income students from age 4 to 15, the suit said." Just a little food for thought. If this boy and his mother win (not saying they will or will not.) He will recieve alot of money for "compensation" (BLAH BLAH BLAH.) Upon accepting the money he would therefore no longer be elligible to apply for the school as it only accepts students from "LOW INCOME" households. What next? They are going to say they have to let him into this FREE non-profit school Even though he is rich? So wouldn't they then have to accept EVERYONE regardless of financial status, regardless if they can handle whatever these students bring to the table? Any student they deny admission to then have grounds for a lawsuit for discrimination, why let one rich kid in and not all the others? This whole lawsuit is not right in so many ways. If its money they want sue for money if it is admission sue for That and only that. its just not right. How would MHS handle having to accept all the students that apply they are not a public institution, nor do they receive any funding from the gov. whatsoever.

    December 6, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  5. Whitney

    I am an aumni from the class of 2010 and i currently attend Indiana University of Pennsylvania.....So mhs denied admission to and hiv positive student....and their wrong?!....what the boy wants to play sports and the boy gets a cut? would YOU feel safe?.....the boy will be living with 13 year old do you think they have been educated enough to kno what to do and what not to do when dealing with a person with aids?....its questions like this that make him a potentional health risk to the students........one thing mhs does is make their students feel safe.....so i commend them for making the decision based on the well-being and safety of its students.....ISUPPORTMHS

    December 6, 2011 at 10:12 am |
  6. Mary

    This is classic discrimination. The student is clearly more intelligent than this academy. The Milton Hershey Academy is really afraid of losing business and funding. I was an R.N. when HIV/Aids was newly discovered and widely unknown. To prevent panic during these learning stages we basically used standard preventative measures. This included treating every individual as potentially having the HIV/Aids virus, as well as ourselves as health care providers. Clearly Milton Academy is directing this panic at this young scholar, and kudos to him for standing up to them. He deserves a better place for education than this academy.

    December 6, 2011 at 1:54 am |
  7. Carol Houseman

    I have read that this school takes with every student the obligation for their medical expense. My son had to be ready to not adopt (thank goodness they were HIV negative) African adoptees. Perhaps this school is unwilling to taking on the very expensive HIV treatment for this student, and if that means they cannot take many other students, this seems a failure of our insurance coverage and pre existing conditions that is at fault. If this is so... I fault their spokesperson at the least.

    December 6, 2011 at 1:33 am |
  8. Amanda H.

    I am a parent and a former middle school teacher. After teaching I went on to get higher degrees in psychology and public administration. Additionally, I pride myself in seeking to expand my knowledge and keep up with current research regarding data on epidemiology, preventive medicine and behavioral studies in public health.

    From my personal and professional experience, formal education, and parental expertise, I have formed an opinion about this situation. That opinion is that this is unacceptable and this school should be legally challenge and subsequently reprimanded.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
  9. Melvin

    Why won't you ask how he got HIV/AIDS. If he got it by sex then he might have sex with someone their. You make the school the bad guy with out knowing the reason. Ask the reason and ask the question.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
  10. Aline

    I actually just walked out of my medical ethics exam like an hr ago and I'm appalled by this! How does this kid pose an imminent threat?!? This is ridiculous! I get that people may be fearful of the situation...fear is a normal human response to unknown situations. However, we must learn to get over our fears and we most definitely can not impose our sometimes irrational feelings on other people. Let the kid go to school!

    December 5, 2011 at 10:18 pm |